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Osceola County Commission delays consideration of new protections for renters after Hurricane Ian

Kissimmee Village flooding
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto's office via Facebook
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Many renters in Osceola County, including residents of the Good Samaritan Society's Kissimmee Village, lost much of their belongings in flooding following Hurricane Ian in September.

Osceola County commissioners have delayed their consideration of a proposed new protections for renters.

The commission was poised to consider a tenant's bill of rights and a flood disclosure requirement, after so many suffered huge losses in the flooding from Hurricane Ian.

Representatives of local Realtors and landlords asked the commission for a delay while they address concerns.

And advocates for low-income residents pressed for additional protections in the tenant's bill of rights, after Hurricane Ian devastated many renters.

The commission will discuss the ordinance at a workshop meeting on Jan. 23.

Commissioner Brandon Arrington had proposed the ordinance. He noted that there are "good actors and bad actors" among landlords.

"This is for the people that are taking advantage of those that may be down on their luck or a little less affluent than some others may be," he said at a meeting on Monday. "So that's my intent."

The ordinance, as proposed, would require landlords and home sellers to warn residents in writing about past flooding.

It would require landlords to provide a notice of rights when renting a home or apartment and a written notice before late fees are assessed

It would make it illegal to discriminate against renters who rely on public assistance.

The Code Enforcement Department could fine violators up to $500. Failure to disclose past flooding could lead to steeper fines of $5,000 per violation.

The ordinance would not apply to commercial sales and leases or to short-term rentals of less than 30 days.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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